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Though it may be somewhat surprising, if the sex was consensual, sex with a 17 year old in South Carolina is not illegal. In fact, though the legal age of consent in South Carolina is 14, state statutes provide criminal penalties for sexual only for acts on a child under the age of 16. Specifically, that statute reads:
SECTION 16-15-140. Committing or attempting lewd act upon child under sixteen. It is unlawful for a person over the age of fourteen years to wilfully and lewdly commit or attempt a lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body, or its parts, of a child under the age of sixteen years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of the person or of the child.
A person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined in the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both.
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Thank you for your reply. If it could be proven that he contacted this minor knowing she was under the age of eighteen for the express purpose of persuading or inducing her to have sexual relations, he could be charged with criminal solicitation of a minor; HOWEVER, the defense to the crime is consent where the minor is at least sixteen years of age. In other words, if she agreed to the sexual intercourse, he's off the hook. The fact that she lives at home or is still in high school doesn't change the fact that the law says once a minor is sixteen, she can consent to having sex. Only before that age does the law find that a person is too young to voluntarily give their educated consent. I've also read the statute concerning contributing to the deliquency of a minor, but it does not apply in this situation; in fact, I don't think the statute even mentions sexual relations at all.
Now, certainly if he gave her alcohol and drugs, there could be possible charges for that. I would encourage her parents to contact the police and the state attorney's office, as only the state attorney can bring formal charges. However, you should know that any such charges would likely be misdemeanors, and he would probably not get any jail time, but rather fines and probation, especially if this was a first offense.
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